Dassault’s Falcon 5X, currently running three years behind schedule, took to the skies for the first time on 5 July, powered by preliminary versions of Safran's Silvercrest engines.
The ultra-wide business jet performed a 2h maiden sortie from Dassault’s Bordeaux-Mérignac final assembly facility with test pilots Philippe Deleume and Philippe Rebourg at the controls.
The French airframer says the 5X will now embark on a short, preliminary flight-test campaign, designed to streamline the late-running development process and to collect valuable airframe and systems data that could not be generated during ground testing.
The full-scale certification campaign will begin next year, says Dassault, when it receives the certificated versions of the Silvercrest engines. Technical and design issues with the 10,000-12,000lb-thrust (42-53kN) turbofan have resulted in a three-year delay to the 5X programme: the clean-sheet twin is now scheduled to enter into service in 2020.
The engine problems have imposed additional development and engineering costs on Dassault and have significantly impacted on the 5X backlog – with 12 cancellations recorded in its order and delivery totals for 2016 alone. Dassault is seeking compensation from Safran for these financial losses.
Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier says the company is "committed to limiting the consequences of the four-year engine development delay as much as possible”, and the preliminary flight-test campaign should help with this effort.
“We will closely monitor the validation tests on the modified Silvercrest, which are scheduled by Safran in the coming months, as their results will be critical for meeting the 5X entry into service in 2020,” says Trappier.